The Art of Living Consciously
Fall 2015 quarter
"The art of living" is an ancient concept, one that has always suggested that by being educated correctly one could come to live consciously and conscientiously, attentively, and with a sense of purpose. “Correct” education required both education of the mind and education of the body. One cultivated the mind through philosophical discussion with elders and masters who also prescribed appropriate practices for the body. This program will begin by contrasting “the art of living” and its characteristic effort to refine life by cutting away the unnecessary in favor of the Good, with modern life that constantly seeks to expand one's choices, options, and alternatives, all of which tend to distract our attention from our “true” purpose. Among other practices, we will study walking, reading, and writing: walking as political (e.g., protest marches), aesthetic (the "dandy"), and ascetic (pilgrimage) activity; reading not as information acquisition or entertainment but, as many religions do, as a practice of discernment of wisdom; writing not to express oneself or to find one's voice, but as a dedicated effort to find words to help one appreciate and understand embodied experience. We will explore questions about values in life as well as the writings of authors such as C.G. Jung, Ivan Illich, and Joanna Macy.
We will explore ways people have used resources and practices, personal to global, to craft richer, more meaningful lives. We will have weekly workshops in movement and somatic practices as well as an overnight retreat to build program cohesion and explore new skills. During the term, students will work collaboratively to create responses to our program materials. They will also conduct independent research on a topic of their choosing, related to the program content; this project will account for up to half of the awarded credit.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day